I missed a week back there, so here I am once again catching up a little on things that had got away. I have been on the receiving end of a batch of performances of late, so now is definitely the time both to reflect a little and to start looking ahead.
An Exaltation Of Skylarks and Missa Festiva were both performed as part of the London Festival Of Contemporary Church Music, the former receiving its first outing, while the latter is probably on its fifth or sixth performance by now, the companion piece to the Missa Dorica. There was also the St. Mary Abbots Jubilate, for which I played, although I spent most of it fighting the copy, which led to a couple of small spur-of-the-moment rewritings. Still, composer’s prerogative, and all that. Most annoyingly, when I opened up the file in the evening to correct an error I had spotted in the printed copies I saw that I had previously created an organ-only part, which would have helped me to avoid all those ‘new’ notes, but at least the error had already been sorted out, which was some good news.
It now quietens down a touch, the Missa Clemens at Christ Church, Hampstead the only piece on the horizon for a while, but it has been a pretty good run – two new cantatas, one new organ piece and several other outings, and all since the start of April. After the desert of 2020, which, for the first time in maybe over thirty years, had no premières at all, it feels good to be back and firing on most, maybe even all cylinders.
Talking of things happening again, preparations continue for the Anghiari Maratona and Festival, which were both so much a part of the annual rhythm of my life before you-know-what. I have not been back since the summer of 2019, which feels like an entirely different world, and am as excited as I am nervous, even if I know that, five minutes into the first rehearsal, it will all feel as if I have never been away.
I also spent a decent part of last week charting some songs for RetroChic’s forthcoming appearance at Collett Park Day, a new tranche of repertoire, including some scrummy ELO, Squeeze and Bill Withers. In fact, I fell into a bit of a Withers hole for a while, utterly enjoying the songs of his that I knew as well as digging into new delights, much the same of which could be said of Vaughan Williams, whose music took up most of my Saturday, at least until Eurovision took over. I am in the middle of a real mix of musics at the moment, as happy accompanying Mozart as crashing my way through Mr. Blue Sky, and it is definitely a fun way to be – and all the while new pieces are beginning to coalesce at the back of my brain.